HOUSTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Two parades were held on Monday in the fourth largest U.S. city of Houston to honor the legacy of the country's late civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr..
The 19th Annual MLK Grande Parade started at 10 a.m. in Midtown Houston. The 35th annual "original" MLK Parade, sponsored by the Black Heritage Society, started almost the same time as the MLK Grande Parade, rolling down streets in the downtown area.
Spectators lined the streets to watch bands, performing groups and elected officials ride on floats.
"It's a day full of excitement," Mary Hodges, who was viewing the parades with her two children, told Xinhua. The fact that the parades were happening on the same day as the inauguration of the country's first black president Barack Obama is very unforgettable, she added.
Grand ceremonies were held in Washington, D.C. throughout Monday to celebrate the beginning of President Obama's second term in the White House.
Organizers in Houston expected a large turnout for both parades.
"With both parades at the same time, I believe that Dr. King is just giving people as many ways as possible to unite in celebration of him," said Glorice McPherson, event coordinator for the Black Heritage Society. "It's like he's still bringing the people together."
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which falls on the third Monday of January each year, was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.
Parades and other activities were held on Monday throughout the United States to honor Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39.